Texts reveal discord in Beach GOP

Councilman Paul Kanitra announced he will challenge Mayor Stephen Reid in his reelection bid. [FILE PHOTO / THE OCEAN STAR]

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The announcement by Councilman Paul Kanitra that he is seeking the Republican nomination for mayor has exposed a rift between him and outgoing Mayor Stephen Reid.

During a council meeting on Feb. 5, Mayor Reid, who hopes to succeed Republican David Wolfe in the State Assembly, publicly apologized for comments he made in text messages to Councilman Kanitra. Mr. Wolfe is not seeking re-election.

In his texts, Mayor Reid accused Councilman Kanitra of “selfishness” for appearing to bypass the screening process that vets potential candidates for consideration by the borough’s Republican committee.

Mr. Kanitra will be competing for the GOP mayoral nomination with Councilman Thomas Toohey, who issued a statement announcing his candidacy and claimed the support of Mayor Reid and other Republicans on the borough council.

According to text messages shown to The Ocean Star, Mayor Reid told Councilman Kanitra, who took office in 2018, that “I will do everything in my power to make sure that you will not only lose if I’m endorsed but we’ll make sure your so-called political career is over.”

In other text messages, Mayor Reid charged that Mr. Kanitra is “not a Republican.” Mr. Kanitra was not present at the Feb. 5 meeting but Mayor Reid said he had also texted an apology to the councilman, in which he described his own text messages as “wrong.”

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.